Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Warm Bed For A Cold Night

Do you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing often and especially at night?

Do you leave your dog in an outside kennel over night?
If so, here is a short list of things you can do to help insure that your dog is keeping dry, and warm enough to stay out for an extended period safely.
  1. Make sure your dogs have a decent house to sleep in. It should not be big, or overly tall. It should be just big enough for your dog to stand up in, turn around in, and lay in comfortably. Being just enough room for your dog, will allow his body heat to become trapped inside, and will help to keep him warmer.
  2. It should be insulated.  Even some of the plastic ones have insulation.
  3. The house should be placed in a barn or outdoor building protecting it from the wind, rain, snow, etc., preferably with a eastern/southern exposure.
  4. The house should be placed on a platform which will keep it off the damp ground.
  5. Clean straw or hay should be used for bedding. It dries quickly and is soft for them to sleep on. Cloth bedding gets wet and stays wet, when outside in cold temps. It will get wet, then moldy and that's unhealthy for your dog.
  6. If you can put a flap on the door to prevent drafts, that's a huge help.
  7. And last, if you have really cold, sub-zero weather, you can buy heated pads that can be used outside, but not in the wet weather. 
Our old barn is our kennel. Inside the barn is the individual kennel runs,  which have a run leading to outside. There is a door for each that can be locked closed when it snows hard or temp drops. Each kennel has a heating pad for them when it is very cold, like  below 20 degrees. Dan has added countless "flaps" to the doors of the houses only to come out the next day and find them ripped to shreds. Yep, it seems that a Gordon Setter likes a room with a view! When it drops below about 10 degrees, we bring them up to the house where we have a "puppy whelping" room built off the side of the house. Inside, we can house 4 dogs in a heated room. Of course, as I said this is the "puppy whelping" room that doubles for emergency dog kennels.  We also have 2 kennels inside the house for 2 more dogs. Up here in Montana, it can drop to 20 or 30 degrees below zero in a day and that's dangerous weather for your dogs. With 5 dogs we have to be ready.

Make sure your dog has the protection he needs to stay warm and safe through these frosty cold nights of winter.


  1. I had no doubt that you take care of your dogs. :) I wish more folks were like you. Even though we don't get terribly cold here in Texas, we still get temps in the teens sometimes, and yet I see neighbor dogs w/o proper houses or insulation, etc. Makes me crazy...

  2. I think Jill would like an outside kennel with a dog house, but the barking with the neighboring dogs would be a bit much. Jack is all inside except for going potty and then it's under duress.

  3. You know Karen the is an excellent post here! We use to Kennel our dogs in a barn while we were building. Sam's favorite thing to do was to help spread the straw! He would grab it and shake his head back and fourth, it was adorable. Over the years though I grew to prefer pine shavings though. :)

  4. O by the way I LOVE the picture!!!!!

  5. texwis, Thanks! I too, go a little crazy when I see a dog without the proper shelter. People think because they are dogs, they can stay out, but not true when the temps drop to freezing.

    Sharon, I'll just bet you, that your little coat wearing cuties would be beggin' at the door if you put them outside! ha ha

    That's funny about Sam. I wish I could have known him.(: We use the cedar chips on the outside of the kennel, to help deodorize. It works really well and is very cheap. But for "fluff and warmth" we use the straw inside the barn.

    The pic was found in Free Google pics. I can't take credit for this one. It is a beauty though.

  6. Leigh ....That last comment was for you girl. Sorry I forgot to address it to you! I haven't had enough coffee yet! ha ha

  7. Karen, you always have the most informative posts. We have a place for Shep in the barn. He actually claimed it and took hay and made himself quite a bed. He goes in there when it’s cold. I used to worry it would be too cold but he doesn’t seem to mind it so I think he stays pretty warm in his bed of hay :)

  8. Thanks Amy! Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself or posting subjects that people should already know about. And then...I see a dog out in the cold with no shelter, or a dog loose in the bed of a truck and I think...."there are still people out there who need to be told".
    I am sure Shep is very happy with the bed he made himself in the barn. His breed, at his size, doesn't need a super warm bed. He's carrying that on his back! He's got plenty of fur to keep him warm and the barn keeps him from getting frost bite. Glad it wasn't too cold when he disappeared Christmas Eve.

  9. hahaha, no worries Karen. When I hit the lottery I will hire us both a butler to make sure that the coffee is made and sitting on the nightstand. LOL Yep, already got the millions spent. LOL

  10. Leigh, I couldn't ask for anymore than that, could I?! If you win the lottery, I'm coming down there to help you celebrate!!